Content Marketing Demystified

What is it? Why does my business need it? And, What Makes for Quality Content?

I could write about a dozen posts on this topic, but instead, I’ll introduce you to the basics in this one post for now. But, yes, you can expect more posts on content marketing in future.

I’m assuming you’ve heard about content marketing, maybe you’re curious to learn more. Maybe you have done a bit of it knowingly or, perhaps, even unknowingly. I’ll also assume you’re not an expert on it, but you are curious to learn more about what exactly it is, how it can be used and what it takes to ensure that you achieve quality content marketing efforts, should you choose to go down this path. Otherwise, why would you be reading this post?

Rather than reinvent the wheel, this short, informative video explanation of the basics of content marketing by Interact Media will work just fine to give you a basic working understanding of content marketing.

So, basically, content marketing is the creation, publishing, and promotion of custom content including web page information, blog posts, articles, white papers, listings, ebooks, videos, etc.

Content marketing is a tool that can be a permanent and ongoing source of traffic, leads, and sales for your business.

Its benefits include:

  • Building your site into a trusted authority in your industry
  • Keeping you visitors coming back often and staying longer on site
  • Increasing your conversion rates and therefore, improving your sales.

In this additional video, Rachel Sterling hosts a Hangout for the Google Small Business Community, with Buzzfeed’s (one of the most prolific content creators) Keith Hernandez, Director of Brand Strategy.

This video is admittedly a little more “jargony” a discussion of the topic, but it does provide some great examples, references, and actionable suggestions…so it’s also well worth the watch.

So now we have a working definition of what content marketing actually is, its benefits and how we might use it for our business.

I’ll close with a variety of suggestions to guide you in the creation of great content that your audience will find useful and engaging.

Great Content Is

Relevant

Is your content relevant to your audience, or is it content for content’s sake?

Have you provided them useful, interesting, actionable, relevant, timely information to assist them in understanding or appreciating something relevant to your relationship?

Original

Is your content original and not “borrowed” from some other source?

Have you ensured that any content you post is completely original, representing a unique perspective, and not in opposition to any copyright laws? And if you are quoting content from other sources, does it have clear attribution attached?

Findable

Can people find your content?

Have you used hash tags, metadata, titles, descriptions, keywords, the customer’s perspective and vocabulary, links and alt tags?

Readable

Can the user read the content easily?

Have you broken out the information is chunks, used subheadings, callouts, numbered lists, listicle, bullets, simple language, free from jargon and contains proper spelling and grammar?

Understandable

Can the reader understand what you’re trying to say?

Have you kept your audience in mind? Have you provide ample context for full understanding? Are you using the appropriate content type – whether text, video, images, graphs, infographics? Have you found a simple or new way to present your idea?

Actionable

Have you motivated the reader to take action and given them an opportunity to do so?

Have you created compelling calls to action that are easy to find, asked readers to share your content with their networks, leave comments, answer questions, complete a poll or follow links to more information?

Shareable

Will the reader actually feel compelled to share your content?

Have you asked them to or given them a clear reason to share it and made it easy for them? Is your content provocative? Has it elicited an emotional reaction that would encourage them to share with their network?

 

Hopefully, the world of content marketing has now become a little clearer for you and you may even have a few ideas of how you can put it to work for you.

If you’re left with any specific questions about content marketing, please leave them in the comments or contact me directly. I’d be happy to answer them for you.

And, if you’ve found this post useful and you know someone else who may benefit from reading it, go ahead and share it.

They say that sharing is caring… at least it is in the content marketing world!

 

 

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